Is Trump Building a ‘Deportation Force?’
If you read anything about the recent uptick in immigration enforcement, many media outlets are referring to the build-out as a “deportation force.” The most recent stats say that illegal border crossings are down, and the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, says it will step-up prosecutions and deportations of criminal aliens.
The Washington Post reports on the “deportation force:”
The Trump administration is quickly identifying ways to assemble the nationwide deportation force that President Trump promised on the campaign trail as he railed against the dangers posed by illegal immigration.
An internal Department of Homeland Security assessment obtained by The Washington Post shows the agency has already found 33,000 more detention beds to house undocumented immigrants, opened discussions with dozens of local police forces that could be empowered with enforcement authority and identified where construction of Trump’s border wall could begin.
The agency also is considering ways to speed up the hiring of hundreds of new Customs and Border Patrol officers, including ending polygraph and physical fitness tests in some cases, according to the documents.
But these plans could be held up by the prohibitive costs outlined in the internal report and resistance in Congress, where many lawmakers are already balking at approving billions in spending on the wall and additional border security measures.
Administration officials said the plans are preliminary and have not been reviewed by senior DHS management, but the assessment offers a glimpse of the department’s behind-the-scenes planning to carry out the two executive orders Trump signed in January to boost deportations and strengthen border enforcement.
The new hiring is falling under the umbrella of new customs and border patrol agents, something that the federal government does under normal circumstances. From the outside, it appears that this new stance alone is having an impact on the number of border crossings which are down significantly from last year.
Critics of these moves claim the Trump administration is setting up a robust deportation apparatus which could be used down the road to “round up” illegals for a mass deportation, or morph into a police state:
“This is an administration that very much is interested in setting up that mass deportation infrastructure and creating the levers of a police state,” Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center Marielena Hincapié told the Post. “In these documents, you have more proof and evidence that they’re planning to carry it out.”
The term “deportation force” sounds ominous and no doubt will be used by Democrats as motivation in 2018. Trump still needs funding for new hires and expanding departments, so Congress can still stand in the way if Republicans can’t get their act together and appropriate some money before the midterms.